"It's a thrilling new way to get rid of people," said Louise Bimpson, Corporate Director of our ever-expanding Human Resources team, as she unveiled Poppleton's innovative range of measures for weeding out academics who were no longer a part of the university's strategic plan going forward.
Ms Bimpson admitted that in devising Poppleton's new CRP (creative redundancy process) she had been influenced by the "admirable process" for sacking significant numbers of people recently developed at Queen Mary, University of London.
This process gave underperforming academics a set of specific targets, such as publishing a certain number of papers in a certain time frame, submitting grant applications worth a certain amount by a certain date, or obtaining minimum scores in student feedback on their teaching.
These were all excellent ways of separating "the wheat from the chaff", said Ms Bimpson. "But here at Poppleton we believe we've added a little extra creativity to the art of getting shot of deadwood. From now on all underperforming academics at Poppleton will be required to meet the targets set by Queen Mary but, in addition, will also be required to satisfy management by bending over backwards, jumping through a selection of specially designed hoops, and contriving to stay afloat after being attached to a ducking stool and thrown into the university's plastic-bottomed lake."
Ms Bimpson allowed that while Queen Mary may have pioneered the art of "crude metrics", she liked to think that our own university's additional proposals "had raised crudity to an even higher level".
Cinders, you shall go to the ball
Our Deputy Head of Student Experience, Nancy Harbinger, has defended the £155 cost of this year's student "white-tie only" June Ball. She admitted to our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that she had been "moved" by a letter in Times Higher Education from a postgraduate student who had found the £120 white-tie ball at Durham University beyond his means and indicative of that university's elitism.
However, Ms Harbinger maintained that Poppleton's ball differed fundamentally from the Durham event by virtue of its commitment to "widening access". Any economically disadvantaged student from an ethnic minority group could apply for one of six especially reserved and entirely free "scholarship tickets". These allowed the user to enjoy all the delights of the ball provided they vacated the dance floor by midnight.
She hoped this clarified the situation.
Grand treasure hunt
Following our vice-chancellor's recent declaration that Poppleton university cannot stand still but must move forward "by capitalising on its distinctive strengths", we are now inviting all members of Poppleton academic staff to detect any such strengths and pass them on to the vice-chancellor in good time for his next speech.
Please note that these strengths do not have to be all that strong, as long as they are discernibly stronger than some other things that are less strong and have not previously featured in any list of discernible weaknesses.
Please also note that the emphasis is upon "distinctive strengths". This criterion clearly excludes from consideration the university's possession of a large cooling tower and an inept vice-chancellor.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
"A little gem this week for the more mathematically minded among you: Geometry holds clues to the meaning of life; look and you will see the sines."